Planting Instructions for Red Pontiac Potatoes


Baked or boiled, a fresh dug potato offers a pleasure for the palate known to only a few people. The potato prepared immediately after retrieving it from the soil has a sweetness missing from the starchy, stored potatoes found in the supermarket. According to The Potato Garden, a premier vendor of certified seed potatoes, the red pontiac variety is the easiest to grow for the home vegetable gardener. This cultivar produces consistent taste and may be grown in northern and southern states for harvesting in late spring or summer.

Step 1

Prepare the bed for growing potatoes a month before planting. Clean away debris and residual plant material. Break up the top layer of soil with a rake or tiller. Add amendments such as 2 inches of compost and a 15-5-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1/2 to 1 lb. per 10 feet of row.

Step 2

Cut larger red pontiac seed potatoes into pieces that contain at least two "eyes." Rest the cut potatoes for two to three days to allow the cut to heal before planting.

Step 3

Dig a trench 12 inches deep and 3 inches wide. Place the dirt just outside the trench for later use. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart if there is more than one row.

Step 4

Place the red pontiac seed potatoes into the trench two weeks before the last frost. Place the seed potatoes 12 inches apart. Cover them with 4 inches of soil.

Step 5

Set up a drip irrigation system or place soaker hoses near the trench. Apply 2 inches of water per week while the potatoes are bulking up, usually in the spring, with less water before harvesting, according to the University of Nebraska's potato guide.

Step 6

Add soil to the red pontiac potato plants to cover all but 4 inches of the growth when the plants are 8 inches tall (called hilling) using soil that was dug from the original trench. Repeat the hilling procedure about three weeks later.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant red pontiac potatoes in the same area where other members of the nightshade family were grown the previous year. Nightshade vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, paprika and cayenne peppers.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake or tiller
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Certified red pontiac seed potatoes
  • Shovel
  • Irrigation


  • The Potato Garden: Potato List
  • University of Nebraska: Potato Education Guide
  • University of Illinois: Potato
Keywords: growing potatoes, red pontiac potatoes, home garden potatoes

About this Author

Barbara Brown has been a freelance writer since 2006. She worked 10 years in health care, testing children and training parents before moving into information research. She has been certified as a psychological associate and professional counselor in Texas. She is studying to be a master gardener and has a master's in psychology from Southern Methodist University.